David Schaffner III was about to head into the stands for his high school’s football game when he realized his mistake.
Schaffner, a 16-year-old hunter, was still carrying the pocket knife he’d just used in the woods.
“He was cutting branches and whatnot with it,” Schaffner’s father, also named David, told KDKA-TV. “Just forgot he had it in his pocket.”
With no metal detector or bag check at the field for Fox Chapel Area High School in Pittsburgh, Schaffner could have kept mum without incident last Friday night. But knowing that knives aren’t allowed on school grounds, he apologized for being forgetful and “intentionally, willfully handed the pocket knife” to a security guard, Schaffner’s father said.
He even voluntarily wrote and signed a statement, saying in part: “I was in the woods behind my house at my tree stand and forgot to take my knife out of my pocket … came to the game and gave it to the security guard.”
All seemed OK, and Schaffner headed to the stands. But soon, a Fox Chapel principal learned about what Schaffner had done, found him, and kicked him out of the game.
That’s not all. The principal gave him a 10-day suspension, and according to the family’s attorney, Schaffner faces possible explusion later this month.
Attorney Phil DiLucente told TheBlaze that he received an email Tuesday night from the school district’s attorney indicating that an expulsion hearing for Schaffner is set for Sept. 27.
“It’s out of line and unnecessary,” DiLucente said, adding that he’s been on the other end of things, calling for students’ expulsions, but this action is unwarranted.
“It’s utterly ridiculous,” he added to KDKA. “I mean, what are we teaching our youth today? To not be honest, to not be open and forthcoming? We are hopeful there will be reconsideration on this particular matter and he [will] be immediately back in school.”
Schaffner’s father agrees with DiLucente, saying the punishment sends the wrong message. “To me it sends a message, you should probably lie, ‘cause you’re going to get punished,” Schaffner told KDKA.
Michael Hower. senior lead principal of Fox Chapel Area High School — whom DiLucente told TheBlaze is the principal who ejected Schaffner from the game — did not immediately return a request for comment from TheBlaze.
TheBlaze contacted the district superintendent Dr. Anne Stephens and was referred to the district coordinator of communications, who said the district could not comment on cases concerning student discipline. But Bonnie Berzonski added that “when there’s a weapon, we have to follow the law; that is our responsibility to the community and to our students and staff.”
TheBlaze reported on a similar circumstance concerning David “Cole” Withrow, a North Carolina high school student and Eagle Scout, who was suspended and arrested for accidentally leaving a shotgun in his pickup truck parked in the school lot in May.
Withrow decided to not keep quiet and attempted to have his mother take the shotgun home, but the school contacted police and Withrow was charged with a felony. Withrow was allowed to graduate on time, but by attending an alternative program — Liberty University extended a scholarship to Withrow upon hearing about his honesty.
Here’s a report on Schaffner’s case from KDKA, via YouTube: